There is no surprise that amid property price growth in Australia (especially in Sydney) some people would be interested in explaining the reasons of it. Beyond market conditions (demand higher than supply, low interest rates, higher income than many other places) there is also a tendency to blame foreign investors in influence on the property prices.
I have personally heard sentiments about this from persons who couldn't afford to buy property for themselves to live.
For some it is possibly easy to mark people who they see as competitors on the property market as foreigners. As an illustration you might consider this quote:
... I think it is hard to deny. If you imagine an auction on a weekend where you throw in an extra buyer who is willing to pay a little bit more than everyone else there, if that buyer happens to be foreign, maybe as a temporary resident, and they are buying the single place that they are able to get approval for, it is hard to deny that it would not push up the price.
Dr Christopher Kent, Assistant Governor, RBA, Committee Hansard, Sydney, 27 June 2014, p. 8.
At the same time how it is possible to identify the nationality of a person at an auction - by looks, by language, by behaviour? Unless we ask for their passports I presume.
Anyway foreign investors do exist. In regards to real estate, in 2012-2013 following 7 countries were the biggest investors in that sector (in $m):
Foreign Investment Review Board Report 2012-2013
However in regards to them dominating the price push the facts tell it's exaggerated:
Foreign investment is not a significant driver of increased housing prices, playing a minor role in the overall housing market, and representing around 2.5 per cent of total annual sales.
Meriton Group, Submission 14, p. 2.
Some links in regards to this matter:
Report on Foreign Investment in Residential Real Estate, 27 November 2014
Housing affordability: Are foreign investors to blame for Australia’s high property prices?
Foreign Investment in Residential Real Estate
One in six homes bought by foreigners
Where foreign investors are buying in Australia
13 facts about foreign property investors
Foreign buyers purchase up to 40pc of new Sydney, Melbourne homes